A while back we had an interview with Tess, our new developer (at the time) here at EndGame. This time around we went to the other end of the spectrum and talk to someone who has been with us for a wee while. Tyler fitted the bill and generously spent some time to talk about his EndGame experience.
I'm a Senior Developer here at EndGame, and have been part of the EndGame team for just over three years now. This is a change from originally joining the team as an Intermediate Developer.
I've always been interested in software development since I was about 12 or 13 years old. I've always enjoyed building things or figuring out how things generally worked - often by taking them apart, and not getting them back together again! Moving into software development felt like a very natural progression.
Right before EndGame I was working at a marketing agency in Dunedin. That provided a great chance to build a number of bespoke websites for small businesses before joining a company with a more focused approach to software development.
With my love of tech, I've always been keen to challenge myself and take opportunities that are presented to me. And by that, I don't mean it was some sort of ruthless pursuit of becoming a senior developer. It was more the fact the type of work I was doing evolved over time. An aspect of working at EndGame is the use of SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age). After a period of time, I reflected on the type of engineering work I was completing, contrasting it to the SFIA framework and it became apparent that I was operating at more of a senior level. I approached our leadership team about this and they agreed. It sounds simple when I speak about it, but it took a combination of actually growing into the work and an awareness of this growth to make that formal transition.
Again, that wasn't something that simply just happened overnight. I'd been working with the Surgical Partners team for a while and my influence evolved to a place where I was wearing many hats - development, support, governance to name a few.
That situation probably occurred due to the fact that it is a high trust relationship with a fluid startup. We're very much a partner with Surgical Partners, and they value the expertise we bring to the relationship.
On the flip-side of that, I really value the relationship as well, and feel I've poured a huge amount of effort into making this product really fly from a technical perspective. As well as working closely with the founders.
When you're operating with that sort of trust and respect you naturally understand the product more and are able to contribute your views on the longer term strategy for the product.
And while I've really enjoyed being an integral part of Surgical Partners, at the same time I'm working with my own squad to share my knowledge of the product so I don't become a risk to Surgical Partners purely because of the amount of knowledge that only I hold in my head.
Working in a squad is great. The strength is in the fact you've got a whole mix of skills within the squad. Adding to this we're working with a real mix of partners at various stages of their business.
We treat our squad as if we are a mini business ourselves. We aim to be as self-reliant as possible. Where the EndGame structure has real benefits is that we always have access to specialists with proven experience outside the squad. The comfort of knowing that we can always get this support when required takes the stress and second-guessing out of some decisions.
In short, it really is the best of both worlds!
There's no doubt about it, it is a balancing act at times. But again this is where the strength of the squad comes into play. Everyone knows what is required of us, and we take it upon ourselves to work through conflicting priorities. We dig in and help each other out as much as possible in those situations. As well as this, having multiple products allows us time to properly research and discover work. Essentially, there is a real desire to do the 'right' work, armed with the right amount of information.
Absolutely. Like any workplaces there are challenges. When I think about it though, some of these challenges were of my own making.
In particular, I wasn't necessarily developing areas I wanted to develop. The great thing about this is I had the ability to talk to others at EndGame about this. From there, we put a plan in place to remedy this situation - and importantly, followed it through.
Again, this is where having that support network outside your immediate squad really comes into play. We've got the people with the experience to know how to provide development opportunities that work for people. It isn't a cookie-cutter approach, there is a genuine desire for people to succeed in not only their roles, but their lives generally.
The other way I think about it is like the ongoing changing approaches to software development. The same goes with how EndGame operates as a company. We're constantly looking at ways we can get better, acknowledging that fact that it isn't always going to be perfect. I think the proof of this approach is the fact that the EndGame I'm working in today is vastly different to the EndGame I joined three years ago - and in a good way!
I've mentioned the mix of having the autonomy within our squads to help solve some really interesting problems for our partners, as well as this is the aspect that we are supported by a whole range of people who have amazing industry experience to draw on and guide us when required.
At a broader level, I think the culture that has been built at EndGame is something special. I know it will sound like a cliché, but it is something that I feel sets EndGame apart. It's a culture that has been built on celebrating successes, encouraging people to ask questions and encourages people to take their time to do their best work.
The final aspect has to be the range of partners that we work with at EndGame. These people are passionate about growing SaaS companies that invariably have an aspect of social good to them. This makes it that much easier to get in here and do great work with them!
I think fundamentally the passion I have for developing software is still there. I love doing it, and I love the fact that we can now do it better, faster and have more fun doing it.
There are still opportunities for me to develop here. One in particular is taking on more responsibility as a Tech Lead as we utilise the product trio approach with our partners more and more. This provides me with opportunities to go beyond simply coding, and to work with our partners and the squad to consider a wide range of tech issues from a product perspective.
Finally, the range of partners we are involved with continues to grow. It's exciting to see the new business ideas that potential partners are coming to us with, and knowing that we can help them bring their vision to life is a real buzz.
If you're interested in knowing more about the opportunities at EndGame, development-related or not, get in touch - we'd love to discuss the roles we're looking for!